Susan Curnan named as inaugural Florence G. Heller Associate Professor of the Practice Chair

October 10, 2019

Susan Curnan
Susan Curnan

In October of 2019, Heller School Dean David Weil announced the creation of the Florence G. Heller Associate Professor of the Practice Chair. This endowed chair recognizes the importance of the “practitioner-scholar,” who conducts field-based research and brings those teachings into the classroom. The chair is partially funded by the Florence G. Heller endowment, marking a new chapter in the school’s sixtieth anniversary year.

“In some ways, many researchers at Heller fit the definition of practitioner-scholar,” says Dean Weil. “But I am especially delighted to name our colleague Susan Curnan as the first Florence G. Heller Associate Professor of the Practice. Susan was an obvious choice for the chair given her distinguished career undertaking work in evaluation and capacity-building efforts to improve education, workforce, and community opportunities for disadvantaged young people.” 

Curnan is director of the Center for Youth and Communities, which works with hundreds of organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She also chairs the MBA and MPP program concentrations in children, youth and family policy, and oversees the Eli J. and Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program.

The Center for Youth and Communities team

“I am so honored to be the first holder of Florence G. Heller Chair at this great school, and I am grateful to be part of this social justice community,” says Susan Curnan. “Beyond my personal joy, I am especially pleased that this chair recognizes the value and importance of the ‘scholarship of practice’ and establishes a prestigious pathway for more practitioner-scholars to join and advance as part of our faculty.”

“As no one ‘goes it alone’ in this line of work, I want to thank my research practice colleagues at the Center for Youth and Communities for their great partnership in knowledge development, global evaluation and capacity-building work, and my incredible master’s students for their dedication to addressing persistent and growing disparities in this country with the strength of theory and tools born of both research and practical experience.”

With the initiation of this chair, Dean Weil simultaneously established a committee to examine how the school can identify, recruit, and support the work of scholar-practitioners at Heller who will go on to have productive careers in teaching and research.